Tip Trader: Wood Repair, Mortar Mixing & More

Home-improvement enthusiasts share their home and workshop hints.

Homemade Painting Stand
If you’re in a jam and can’t make it to the hardware store to pick up a set of Painter’s Pyramids, use this trick from Club member Jim Willis of Germantown, Tennessee, to create your own emergency versions. Drive a screw through a 2-in. square scrap of wood to create the support – just make sure to countersink the screwhead so the block sits level.

Rot-Spot Patch
If you need to repair rot damage on your home’s decorative exterior woodwork or moldings, try this trick from Club member Joe Provy of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mix two-part liquid epoxy according to the manufacturer’s directions. Brush some of the epoxy onto the surfaces to be patched; then mix wood flour or sawdust into the remaining epoxy solution until it reaches the consistency of peanut butter. Apply the paste to the area that has rotted away with a putty knife, shaping the patch as well as you can. After a couple of hours, it will have cured enough for you to continue shaping. Once dry, the patch can be routed, chiseled, sanded, sawn or drilled as necessary.

Small-Batch Mortar Mixing
When Club member Chris Umbel of Friendsville, Maryland, had a small tiling repair to make, he didn’t want to mix up a large batch of thinset mortar only to see most of it go to waste. His solution was to use a small bucket and a whisk. He cut the loop off of the handle and chucked the whisk into his cordless drill so he could use it to mix the dry mortar powder and water.